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wjin06

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currently, i'm a graduating hs senior. what sorts of things did you guys do during the smmers? the only activities i can think of include research, study abroad programs or volunteering, and working. are any of these better than any other? also, i was particularly interested in doing public health related work or study or something in a different country, has anyone here done this and have comments about it?
 

Machaon

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I'm only about to begin the med school application process, so I can't definitively say what I've done will translate into a marvelous career in medicine, but I've been doing research with Northwestern University for a couple of summers now and I love it! Medical research is a nice change of pace from the Ph.D. literature you come across as an undergrad and I've come to see how important it is for the advancement of any medical practice: every doctor should be involved in research! Furthermore, on a more selfish note, I had the opportunity to co-author a paper last summer and will have my name on a couple more this summer and that always stands in one's favor. Also, though I'm a research intern, I also have a free invitation to observe surgeries and clinic appointments- ostensibly the coolest part of the job! If you hook up with a research hospital, maybe you'll get to do the same. Good luck!
 

Spitting Camel

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wjin06 said:
currently, i'm a graduating hs senior. what sorts of things did you guys do during the smmers? the only activities i can think of include research, study abroad programs or volunteering, and working. are any of these better than any other? also, i was particularly interested in doing public health related work or study or something in a different country, has anyone here done this and have comments about it?


You are a HS senior... relax a bit. Get involved in some research AFTER you see if you can make the transition to college without incident. I started research sophomore year and volunteering the summer after my sophomore year. You'll be fine to enjoy this one summer, because you may not be able to enjoy any others.
 

Brickhouse

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Machaon said:
I'm only about to begin the med school application process, so I can't definitively say what I've done will translate into a marvelous career in medicine, but I've been doing research with Northwestern University for a couple of summers now and I love it! Medical research is a nice change of pace from the Ph.D. literature you come across as an undergrad and I've come to see how important it is for the advancement of any medical practice: every doctor should be involved in research! Furthermore, on a more selfish note, I had the opportunity to co-author a paper last summer and will have my name on a couple more this summer and that always stands in one's favor. Also, though I'm a research intern, I also have a free invitation to observe surgeries and clinic appointments- ostensibly the coolest part of the job! If you hook up with a research hospital, maybe you'll get to do the same. Good luck!

Hey that thing on your avatar - that's one of the those dust bears or whatever huh? It's cute.

Hey OP - I'd travel - do a two month language immersion or something. I wish I'd travelled more. I did a month political science program thingy in Europe and it was f-in cool!
 

dmk724

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wjin06 said:
currently, i'm a graduating hs senior. what sorts of things did you guys do during the smmers? the only activities i can think of include research, study abroad programs or volunteering, and working. are any of these better than any other? also, i was particularly interested in doing public health related work or study or something in a different country, has anyone here done this and have comments about it?

I'm assuming that you weren't asking for suggestions on what to do during this summer, since, as a graduating high school senior, anything that you do this summer will not be helpful for your medical school application. The basic rule of thumb that I was told for job/grad school applications was that anything that you did before you officially started college is no longer relevant.

If you were looking for suggestions for this summer, getting a job or volunteering (if you truly enjoy volunteering) are good options. The problem with study abroad programs is that they are usually very expensive, and public health related work (international or domestic) usually requires that you have experience and/or be over 20 years old. International public health work also usually requires proficiency in another language, unless you want to work in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada. (Possibly South Africa, too, but I'm not sure.) Just relax! Spitting Camel is right - it's really the last summer where you don't have to do anything, so enjoy it.

Good luck in college!
 

freesolo

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well grades from the summer before college count if your doing college courses, why shouldnt the summer ecs after your hs graduation count?
 

wjin06

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wait.. senior grades count? i wasn't asking about this summer, which, btw, i plan on either working as a nursing assistant/home health aide or as a lab assistant. so to clarify, im really an incoming freshman, and i was wondering what options there were during college summers. is there something i can do to boost my chances and/or stand out? also, are most of the study abroad opportunities costly or will they pay a stipend?
 

notJERRYFALWELL

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dmk724 said:
I'm assuming that you weren't asking for suggestions on what to do during this summer, since, as a graduating high school senior, anything that you do this summer will not be helpful for your medical school application. The basic rule of thumb that I was told for job/grad school applications was that anything that you did before you officially started college is no longer relevant.

Unless you're really on the ball and start a long term research project with professors from your school the summer after you graduate. I know of one chick who did this, but she went to a relatively small school. But hey, she got into 15/15 MD/PhD programs, including JHU and Harvard.

But yeah, research experience is good for at least one summer, at least to see if that's something you'd be interested in. There is a group of programs geared specifically for those finishing freshman year (I believe they're MD/PhD specialized), so you can definitely look into those for next summer. Volunteer experience is definitely a must, but you can usually manage a few hours a week during the school year if you go to a bigger school w/ a hospital. If not, a summer wouldn't be bad, either shadowing or assisting at a hospice.

If you don't find time to go abroad during your academic years, then the summer would probably be a good time to pursue that as well. Though I'd put it off until the summer before matriculation to med school.

As far as which ones carry the most weight, it depends on where you're applying. If the medical school is highly research oriented, then it would help to have research experience. If you're only planning to apply to clinical-based programs, then make sure that you have a good amount of volunteer experience.

But for now, relax, do the lab/nurse assistant thing if you could use the extra cash, but do something fun and relaxing; worry about responsibility this fall.
 

2112_rush

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Take it easy and do something you enjoy outside of academia this summer. You'll be studying for at least the next 4 years. If you want to do something productive, you could volunteer at a hospital or shadow a doctor to get some clinical experience. From what I encountered in med school admissions game, quality clinical experience counts more than research, though a balance of both is probably the most beneficial.
 

dmk724

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wjin06 said:
wait.. senior grades count? i wasn't asking about this summer, which, btw, i plan on either working as a nursing assistant/home health aide or as a lab assistant. so to clarify, im really an incoming freshman, and i was wondering what options there were during college summers. is there something i can do to boost my chances and/or stand out? also, are most of the study abroad opportunities costly or will they pay a stipend?

Okay, to clarify what I meant -

1) Senior grades do not count. Extra curriculars that you participated in during high school do not count. The only things that carru over from high school are AP classes that you receive college credit for, any classes that you took that earned college credit, and your SAT scores. (Some medical schools ask for your SAT scores, but I have no idea why).

2) Abe - the way it was explained to me was that any extra curriculars that you participated in before you started college (i.e. before you were an incoming freshman) occurred too long ago to be relevant by the start of your senior year, when most people apply to med school. The exceptions to this rule are, of course, if you continued to participate in that activity during college, or if you graduate super early. I also included merit scholarships that I had won while in high school, but that I continued to receive during college. College courses are different because you received college credit for them, and, I think, ought to be reported for the sake of academic integrity. The rationale for the distinction, for me at least, was more intuitive than anything else.

3) I've never heard of a study abroad program that pays a stipend. Some programs will offer a discounted rate if you are willing to do an internship, but, again, that usually involves a very good grasp of the local language. Your university will probably offer some study abroad scholarships that you can apply for. You can also teach English in other countries - while you may have to pay a fee, it is usually much cheaper than studying abroad, and usually does not require any special skills other than being a fluent English speaker.

I agree with notJERRYFALWELL, though - you can worry about this stuff later on. Right now, just enjoy your summer.
 

wjin06

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heh, don't worry. i'm really not as anal as i apparently sound! what sorts of places do people volunteer at and how much is "enough?" would working as a nursing assistant also help since it is in a clinical setting? oh and by the way, anyone here attend(ed) Carleton in Northfield, MN? That'll be the college I'm headed to this fall.
 

Anka

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I spent every summer doing research as an undergrad (all continued through the year) and walked away with a couple of first-authored and several co-authored papers... very worthwhile. But then, I really like what I do, and there was nothing I would rather do when I had spent the last 80 hours studying.

Anka
 

Vandyfox

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notJERRYFALWELL said:
As far as which ones carry the most weight, it depends on where you're applying. If the medical school is highly research oriented, then it would help to have research experience. If you're only planning to apply to clinical-based programs, then make sure that you have a good amount of volunteer experience.

Very important / good note here. I never did one bit. . .literally one bit of research before applying. Of course I'd read up and been somewhat in-the-know of what is going on, just didn't take part in any myself. But, that's because I knew exactly what kind of schools and education I was looking for in medicine.

My advice for the summers is get a good summer job- you're still in college, we need the spending money and the experience doing "other things". Just like EC's, summer jobs are a good way of offering yourself as an applicant with diverse experiences (i worked on a golf course and in a factory between years). Also, take a week or so each summer to shadow physicians (different specialties makes it all more interesting), it's fun for you, and a good way to start exploring specialties you might come down to in the future.

I've noticed that the best volunteer opportunities are during the school year: people / student groups are more organized, etc. So, I did most of my volunteering there- unless something really cool pops up in the summer, then jump all over it.

Good luck with everything and enjoy this summer with all of your H.S. buds, it really is a great time.

-Vandyfox
 

wjin06

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is it possible to shadow physicians any more? i heard that HIPPA eliminated that.. or was that just for high schoolers? also, just curious, what does it take to get into the really competitive med schools?
 
C

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I think anything you can do to become bilingual is a boost, if you live in an area or will be applying to schools in an area where that is significant. And when you have free time, now is a good time to start reading up on issues you're going to face in interviews. The reading will also help you prepare for the verbal portion of the MCAT. Being informed about medicine's history and current events will also give you more time to figure out what your interests are and where you want to end up, which will help you choose medical schools when applying. I guess what I'm saying is, the stuff you can put down on paper (EC's, jobs, volunteering) is important, but believe me *everyone* takes care of that business if they really want to get into med school. What can give you an edge is your interview and the other intangibles that arise from how you choose to spend your free time.

And, I took summer classes and worked - it's a good way to get $ and clinical experience, as well as spread out some of the tougher classes or work in additional courses you're interested in taking during undergrad.
 

notJERRYFALWELL

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wjin06 said:
is it possible to shadow physicians any more? i heard that HIPPA eliminated that.. or was that just for high schoolers? also, just curious, what does it take to get into the really competitive med schools?

You can get HIPAA certified (not sure if thats the right term), which basically amounts to you reading about what it entails, and taking a quiz. Then, of course, the physician you shadow has to ask permission for you to watch him interact with actual patients (which they usually agree to anyway). Just make sure that you get that certification out of the way (it'd be easier if you contacted a potential physician about it early on).

Thats how I was able to shadow last summer at Weill Cornell, so unless they've changed things between now and then, you should be able to do the same.
 
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